The Grey Knight

Written before the progeny of such a figure,
Of whom this tale intends to describe
And whose deeds have heretofore been ill-recorded
And discarded to the ravages of history.

- the First of Last Harvest b.r.o. Sehanine’s Orb

Erleb Sanguis

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

ELI, THE GREY KNIGHT
SHARONNE, a hopeful, patient girl
DYLANTHE, an elven squire
THE NYMPH, a wild Feye spirit
THE GHOST OF DOUBT
THE GHOST OF LIES
THE GHOST OF LOVE
Spirits of the Forest
Commoners of the Castle

ACT I, Scene 1

Before the castle of the king.

Enter SHARONNE.

SHARONNE. Oh! Auspicious day!
Oh! Happiness for you and yours!
What luck to be blessed this day!
We are forever beholden to this
The rise of a true paragon
The commencement of a life of worship
Of loving thy brother as thy brother has love for thee
Of giving when there is none to let go
Of being true when words falter
Of being resolute when danger looms
Oh! Holy is he that I do love so well!
Oh good friend, joy, happiness upon you!
Be glad my friends that only Eli stands among us
Still a foal by years, but a sage by deeds!
He has taken his oaths, sealed his bonds
Before the gods of sun, storm, and purity of heart
May his valor never be extinguished
And may, one day, when his journeys be through,
When his battered armor and tired head rest
Let him come back to this castle, a hero
And with the wealth of many journeys
And the fame of many lands,
Let him find me standing silently by
And, by gods and all assembled,
Let him find my love.
Oh! But yet here he comes with our friend
And a grand retinue! Hark Eli! Come!

Enter ELI and DYLANTHE with a grand train of followers.

ELI. My good friends the day is young!
I shall be with you shortly for celebration
As I do my knighthood to you all owe
Such a great deal do you all support me.
For a short while let me alone with my friends.
I have seldom gotten the chance to hear
What they think of this grand elaboration
As I have slaved at the temple
For my rites and trials these long days
And sleepless nights.
Now ’to it! I shall meet thee anon
In the town square upon the rising of the orb!

Exit train of followers.

Ah how tiresome this has all become!
I hardly speak then I am set upon
With pomp and adulation
For they think me a god of virtue!
I should scarce think I deserve such praise
As I have not travelled the wide world
To know too hard a misfortune
Nor too cold a bed, nor too long a journey
But merely was intent on doing good
In a land beset by troubles.
Do you think me a fool now my friends?
To proceed with the occupation of my fathers
And the danger this holy mark entails?

DYLANTHE. Eli I do think you a fool.

SHARONNE. Dylanthe! You should not speak so!

DYLANTHE. Be calm, good girl, I do not mean to insult him
But should he disparage himself so
I should have no recourse but to concur
That the good knight we have before us
As he has dubbed himself, is a fool.
He thinks himself unworthy
Of such a high and lofty prize
Such as knighthood? Surely he is foolish
For he is not himself in this mood.
I know of only one named Eli
And this Eli I have the pleasure of knowing
Is not only a deserving man of this high esteem,
But more, a gentle being of kindness
A stalwart bastion of hope and perserverance,
A knight in every reverent meaning of the word
And he merits the title bestowed on him
More than any creature I have met
Or, I will dare to say, will ever meet hence.
Eli, you are truly a godsend
And to be lauded and praised is only natural,
For us lowly folk have only aspirations
To your great kindness and nobility

SHARONNE. He speaks truth Eli. I can’t imagine
One more knightly than you.
For us to have seen you rise
From a brave boy to a valorous man
Has been its own blessing
And as you shall help others
Throughout your many long days
All we ask is that you think of us
Once in a month, so that we may be comforted
In spirit, and in mind, by your good nature.

ELI. I would not be here without kind friends
Who freely give kinder words
Without any recompense.
Come! Let us go to the town and celebrate!
The night is gracious in coming early
And I smell our feast even this far off!

SHA. & DYL. Let us go!

Exeunt.

ACT I, Scene 2

The next day, before the monastery.

Enter ELI and DYLANTHE.

DYLANTHE. Good sir Eli, a merry morning to you.

ELI. The same to you, my friend, have you heard from Sharonne since last night?

DYLANTHE. Alas, no. She escaped before I could say my good-byes.

ELI. Ah, shame! I had hoped to tell you both the news at once.

DYLANTHE. What news, sire?

ELI. It is decided amongst the elders and I
That for my title to truly mean anything
And the honor of my house to be upheld
I must traverse this expanse of county
And seek those that cry out for help
And those in such dire straits
That they fear to breathe for inhaling foul air
Of evil creatures and corrupt men.
I must seek these fonts of unholy power
And rid them from existence forever
And to perform this task, I must ride
Out from the town in a week’s time
And my journey back is not planned,
Nor in days, nor in years is my return secure.
I am to be the wanderer, the wayfarer
For the wiser among the monastery
See the light in my soul, but say it is dim
They know I am of great potential
Of great station and prowess in combat
But the tides will swiftly drown the pious
In a murky wave of corruption and negligence
Should they sit idly by in grand temples
And count their coffers instead of their blessings.
So must I away, to see the world and its aches
And with my modest balm, cure them.

DYLANTHE. You know not where you go?

ELI. I go where the gods lead me,
To the very ends of the world and beyond
Should evil lurk in its dark crevices
Shrinking from the light of my sword
Which gleams its pure radiance
In the face of an overwhelming force,
I shall smite that which despises good nature,
Purity, and the finer faculties of the enlightened man,
’Till that taint of immorality recedes
And the gods smile over a blessed land.
No my good friend, I do know where I go
And it is a solemn journey I make alone.

DYLANTHE. You speak false! I have been a loyal friend to you these years!

ELI. Aye, I could wish for no better.
Indeed, would the world a fairer place be
I would have you by my side
Through the hardest storms and dryest deserts
And we would keep great company
In our many escapades and our victories
But no, though you shall remain my friend
Close to my heart through all my journeys
I can not take you with me out of duty
To myself and to my superiors.
I can not defy their wishes and worse,
I would build myself a tomb of densest stone
Should something befall you at once
And we be parted too soon by my doing.
No, sweet Dylanthe, I go alone
And I entreat you, to stay here in my stead
Watch our fair town grow and thrive
And keep it beautiful and holy while I
So engaged and removed from here
Do battle against the abyss in all its forms
And bring light to dark places.

DYLANTHE. Such a heavy heart besets me now.
To see you depart will be a great sorrow
Not only to me, but to all whose hearts you’ve affected
With your calming words and impenetrable courage
A constant these many years in this quiet hamlet
But nonetheless a foundation for our happiness.
Ah, Eli! I grow envious of your future endeavours!
What terrible beasts will fall to your blade!
What treasures will be rightfully yours!
What rank and nobility will be bestowed upon you!
What grand adventure! The very stuff of which
Is the essence of a life well-lived
Well-experienced and well-loving of
The interminable bounty the gods have bequeathed us
On all the world and what lies beyond.
Oh to be a servant of the gods as you!
Their instrument of right in the mortal realm!
Ho hum, it is folly for me to be jealous.
I should have nothing but congratulations for you
As you embark, brave knight Eli!

ELI. It is reassuring to hear your words, Dylanthe
Now must I away to Sharonne
I hope she is eager to hear the news
Of my departure in a week’s time.
DYLANTHE. I go with you, m’lord.

Exeunt.

ACT I, Scene 3

Before the house of Sharonne.

Enter ELI and DYLANTHE.

DYLANTHE. Hark! Sharonne! To where has this girl gone?

ELI. Is she not returned from the feast from last night? Mayhap she has been stolen by some devious machinations?

DYLANTHE. I would not worry it so. She is a strong girl of a hardened mind. She will not be so easy to abscond with.

ELI. Even so, I hope with all my heart no ill has befallen her.

DYLANTHE. Ah! All our worries are for naught! Here she comes from the stables.

Enter SHARONNE.

SHARONNE. Good friends! A happy day to you both!

DYLANTHE. And the same pleasure to you as well!

ELI. It is a comfort to see you safe, Sharonne. We had devised that you had been taken from the gathering ’gainst your will.

SHARONNE. Your fears were poorly founded, hardly a man would dance with me last night. I departed early by a dreadful weariness. A strange feeling that so drew me out of a good humor. But it is passed, wherefore come you both here?

DYLANTHE. Eli has such news to tell!

ELI. My dear friend Sharonne, it is passed
That I should depart after the fullness of a week
To so begin my journey in knighthood
And learn from the wide world what ails it
And intend to fight back the onslaught of evil.
It is also affirmed that my return voyage
Whenever it may be, will be happenstance
And my eyes shall not upon this village
For a time innumerable look.
So I bid you spend this week well
And let us three merry keep
Before my leaving, what say you?

SHARONNE. My heart is torn, Eli.
It is a land parted in twain by a racing stream,
On one embankment of its flooding waters
That hold the torrent of my feelings
Stands happiness and joy, seeing you
My friend of so long, take such a journey
For which you have labored many a day,
And such a grand journey it is
Only pride holds this bank
And will heartily bid you fare-wells
The day of your heroic parting.
But across the river sits crushing sadness
As my emotions lap upon this side and drown
This weeping lady among thoughts
Dangerous thoughts as they are, of you
In peril so frightening that, may the gods forbid,
You should fall in combat, pierced and torn
By ogre’s blade or dragon’s claw,
Oh! My heart dies in suffocating melancholy!
Woe is in every grain on this dreadful shore
And it seems that such is its gravity
It has invaded the whole of my heart
And overtaken me with black, horrid thoughts
That I can not escape from myself
Though my heart and mind drive me to flee.
I am sorry Eli, I can not see you part
You are too dear to me now
And I will die upon losing you.

ELI. Sharonne, would I had know
That my words would afflict you as such
I would have pledged silence upon myself,
Locked myself in the tallest tower
And fasted through day and night
Until you could my words bear
And hear them without pains.
Alas it is done, I have my piece spoken
I will pray for your heart to lighten
For the waters to calm and the storm to end
Since you be a great friend of mine
And to leave without your fond fare-wells
Shall be the first strike against my constitution
And a test of my will.

DYLANTHE. Good knight, you give her too much pity!
She is selfish to act as such before you.
I admit that my feelings told me the same
And sadness was my companion when you spoke
Earlier to me about your departure
But come! It is not a time for hiding one’s self!
We do not dig our graves at the first illness,
Nor do we plead starvation at the first pang of hunger,
Nor pronounce a flood at the first hard rain!
This pouting mood is a fleeting thing,
And only serves to bring to light
The notion that we should rejoice now
While our good knight in our hamlet still resides
So am I of this demeanour, but she is not. Indeed,
Should Sharonne behave herself so
And give in to an unfounded sadness
I would scare believe she is your friend
And not merely a fair-weather acquaintance
Not willing to share in your hardships!

SHARONNE. It seems I am unwelcome here.
I only wish that you forget me, Eli,
Leave me to rot on the cold ground
For my transgressions are unpardonable.

Exit SHARONNE.

DYLANTHE. I did not mean to scare her off.

ELI. But your intentions were hurtful, squire
I would entreat you to think longer
Before accosting a woman as you did
With hard words and a stern fa├žade
For the fairer sex warrants neither
And a calm understanding will go farther
To quell the feverous beating of her heart
And let her see reason.
Repent on your actions alone,
I’ll meet thee on the morrow, for now
I must go to her side immediately
To bestow a smile to her face, adieu.

Exit ELI.

DYLANTHE. Alas! Such hardships before Eli’s parting!
A thoroughly unheroic beginning to a hero’s tale!
My only hope remains that Eli forswears not my company
For my actions ‘gainst the fair lady’s will
As hard to comprehend and temperamental as it is.
Good knight Eli! Give her my sympathy.
I will pray as you said for the gods’ forgiveness.

Exit DYLANTHE.

ACT I, Scene 4

The interior of the house of Sharonne.

Enter SHARONNE, weeping.

SHARONNE. It is done, he is no longer mine
The hope I had before for his hand
In a beautiful, glorious wedding by the shore
Is destroyed, ruined upon the cold, dank ground
I am forsaken, he will never be my companion
Woe is my only friend now.

Enter ELI.

ELI. I hear your lamentations from far off
And your tears sound to me as thunderous falls
Pounding against the stones of agony
And my heart cries with you, my friend
And my mind wonders at why you cry
And would gladly pierce through my very soul
With the sharpest sword from dwarven smiths
If it would your depression lift
To bestow that blessed smile to your face.
Prithee, tell me what I must do
What words must I say to restore your happiness?

SHARONNE. Your words would be ill-used, sir knight
A frivolous endeavour which is not becoming of you
Therefore do not pay me heed, let me alone
As I have said before, I have you so offended
That a hanging is now in proper order.

ELI. Do not speak such, my fair girl
You have not offended me in the slightest
Nor is there any offense for the gods to consider
Only the poorly chosen speech of Dylanthe is at fault
For I have chastised him for causing you to fret
And told him, not you, to pray to the gods.
Your sadness at my parting is not a sin
Indeed it is natural and expected, as the rising of the sun
But I would hope that after some searching
Through the labyrinth of your heart and mind
That you would see that this is a final opportunity
For us three to join in happy celebrations
To recall the olden times of our childhood
When all the world was the grandest adventure
And our adversaries were the shrubs and trees
And sticks and stones were our weapons
And our treasures were a few copper pieces,
Ah! The recollection of these days, even now,
Brings me to a warm feeling of contentment
Does it not the same feeling to you bestow?

SHARONNE. It is slow in coming, like a small, kindling fire
But I do feel as such, and see the images of us three
Small and care-free, running about across my mind
Of you, smaller than Dylanthe and I, but brave even then
Warding off an angry canine or protecting me from a devious toad
Which we had devised was the exarch of a witch,
Ah what times! Oh those joyous days!
Yes, I see them Eli, and I see your reason
As pure as clear water from a mountain spring
Your intentions have so calmed me.
I will intend to meet with you in the coming week
But I request of you, humbly begging I am,
That we never talk of your parting, your knighthood
And let us only reminisce again and again
For it will keep me well,
Throughout this difficult week.

ELI. Not a word of my station shall pass my lips
As I am no knight these weeks, but a friend
And I do not wish more than that from you,
The dearest friend I have know.

SHARONNE. There is no bottom to the depth of my gratitude, Eli.
You are a man beyond the grisly constraints of this world
As more like to a god or other high power
Such is your ineffable candor and grace.

The Grey Knight

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